Nicholas Andry coined the word "orthopædics" in French as orthopédie, derived from the Greek words ὀρθός orthos ("correct", "straight") and παιδίον paidion ("child"), when he published Orthopedie (translated as Orthopædia: or the Art of Correcting and Preventing Deformities in Children) in 1741. Though as the name implies it was initially developed with attention to children, the correction of spinal and bony deformities in all stages of life eventually became the cornerstone of orthopedic practice.
As with many words derived with the "æ" ligature, simplification to either "ae" or just "e" is common. In the US the majority of college, university and residency programs, and even the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, still use the spelling with the Latinate digraph ae. Elsewhere, usage is not uniform; in Canada, both spellings are acceptable; orthopaedics usually prevails in the rest of the British Commonwealth, especially in the UK.